Science, Health and the Media Research Group
Researching the key debates about science and health in the media.
This research group addresses key debates about science and health in the media ranging from questions about accuracy and hype to reflections on ethics, stigma and social context.
Research questions include:
- How is science, technology and health reporting 'produced' by PR sources and journalists or by 'grass roots' campaign groups?
- How are diseases, people with particular illnesses or the announcement of scientific findings represented in a range of media from news reporting to science fiction?
- How are such representations interpreted/incorporated (by media audiences, policy makers, and 'publics'?
The aim of this research group is to critically examine how media representations of science and health are created, represented and understood. Our work includes collaboration with charities (eg challenging stigma around disfigurement), promoting debates about the ethics and practice of science PR, and engaging with cultural debates (eg about the end of life).
This research group has been involved in over M£1 of funded research. Major project topics include genomics, representations of emerging technologies, debates around stem cell research, the representation of women in science and the operation of science PR.
Funding bodies include the ESRC, the Wellcome Trust, UKRC and the Department of Health.
A lively group of PhD students are developing studies in a wide range of related areas including projects on 'Constructed futures for care home residents'; ‘Female Genital Mutilation’, ‘Media reporting of AIDS’, ‘The debate about genetically modified crops in the UK', ‘TV drama about human cloning' and ‘Radio discourse about hybrid embryos’.
MSc in Science, Media and Communication
Examples of our research projects
- Dying with reduced agency: people, places, principles and policies (GW4 network grant, June-November, 2014)
- Improving allied health professional communication and practice (ESRC Acceleration Award, July 2014)
- Understanding and optimising health-related press releases as complex public health interventions (led by Psychology, 2014-2016)
- Exploring the potential of digital stories in professional training (ESRC IAA funding)
- Vegetative and minimally conscious states: Creating a web resource for families of severely brain injured patients (ESRC Knowledge Exchange Award, and DIPEx charity) (2013-14)